The 9 Best Wheelbarrows
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in September of 2015. Whether you are a green-thumbed gardener or a professional landscaper, a reliable wheelbarrow can save you serious time and effort on the job. We've included a variety of sizes and styles, from light-duty models for home use to sturdier options that can stand up to extreme demands. All of our picks are more than capable of hauling and dumping leaves, soil, or other debris. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 21, 2021:
We opted to remove the #2 electric garden cart for a couple reasons. That particular model is no longer produced, but also, electric garden carts open up a new can of worms that many homeowners don't want to deal with, as they're a bit too unwieldy for many common wheelbarrow tasks. That's not to say that power wheelbarrows can't do many things very well, but rather that a powered model isn't always a direct replacement for a traditional model.
We also eliminated the Rubbermaid Commercial Roughneck, but still recommend the Rubbermaid Commercial Heavy-duty, which performs better and comes in a wider variety of sizes, including three big-wheel versions.
We made one new addition this round. The Gorilla Carts GCR-4 is somewhat unconventional in that it can't hold quite as much dirt or other material as a lot of the competition, but its novel design means it's about as stable as they come.
March 14, 2020:
For this update we added the Simplay3 Easy Haul, a durable plastic option designed for easy handling. Its size and shape are best suited for smaller landscaping or planting projects, as opposed to lots of heavy hauling.
We also added the Garden Star 70019, a nimble option with a nice balance of maneuverability and durability. It has a large looped handle for easy lifting and pushing, and though its tray is probably too shallow for transporting tall plants or long-handled tools, its a great option for hauling loose material like dirt or gravel.
We removed the Allsop WheelEasy, a foldable fabric design that, although easy to store, lacked the functionality to make the list.
We wanted to include more single-wheel options, like the Jackson M6T22, but after careful research were unable to find any acceptable models. Luckily, the Jackson M6T22 delivers pretty much everything you’d want in a single-wheel design. These wheelbarrows require more effort to lift and balance, but are much more maneuverable than two-wheeled models, making them the preferred choice of contractors who need to navigate busy job sites.
Storage is a big factor to keep in mind when choosing a wheelbarrow. Even if a larger model makes the most sense for your needs, it still might not work for your garage or toolshed. If you don’t have much room to spare, maybe think about getting a smaller model that still has the durability you need. You might have to make more trips back and forth, but a tidy garage could be worth it.
If you're looking for something a little more stable, a lawn cart might be what you need. These tend to be better for transporting supplies and tools, but aren't specifically designed for dumping.
Choosing The Right Wheelbarrow
This is especially true for those rendered infirm by age, accident, or illness.
All wheelbarrows feature a tray for carrying loads of various materials, as well as wheels that make moving said loads easier. Beyond that, though, there are as many differences as similarities to be found among the range of models available. Some wheelbarrows have one wheel, some have two, while others have four. Some wheelbarrows fold flat for easy storage, and some are large enough to carry up to ten cubic feet of material. And while some wheel barrows cost very little, they can actually get quite expensive.
The classic wheelbarrow design features a single wheel in the front and a pair of solid supports behind. This design creates a stable, three-pronged platform when the unit is still, and allows a person to move plenty of weight about when the wheelbarrow is laden, thanks to its wheel and axle paired with the lever action of the handles.
Wheelbarrows are designed to make work easier and more efficient, but for some people a wheelbarrow featuring a single wheel in front can be difficult to maneuver, especially once the tray is filled and the unit is heavy. This is especially true for those rendered infirm by age, accident, or illness.
A safer and more reliable option for such users is a wheelbarrow that features multiple wheels that remain on the ground at the same time. These models can be pushed without being lifted by their rear handles, mitigating the chance for strain to the back, arms, or legs, and further enabling users of all health and fitness levels to get their yard work done.
Over time, people have tried to improve upon basic wheelbarrows, like when Lawrence Bell invented the powered wheelbarrow or when Wilbur Berry tried to add multiple additional sets of wheels in front of and behind the main set. It can be deduced, though, that since none of these have caught on, the basic, human-powered design with either two, three, or four wheels seems to be the optimal configuration.
One should always prioritize ease of use before other factors when considering which wheelbarrow to buy, because a wheelbarrow you can't safely maneuver is not going to be of much use to you. After weighing wheel count and handle shape, the next thing to consider is sheer tray capacity. You know the types of projects you complete around a given property, be it moving grass clippings from the yard to the dumpster or transferring leaf mulch from the pile to the beds; choose a wheelbarrow that can accommodate the amount of material you want to move in as few trips as possible. Remember that you never have to fill your wheelbarrow to capacity if it would add too much weight, so consider opting for a larger wheelbarrow than you think you might need.
Safe And Proper Wheelbarrow Use
While using a wheelbarrow is largely an intuitive process, one can be injured by carelessness or improper use, or by a wheelbarrow that is damaged or defective. Follow a few basic steps to ensure that you are never hurt while using your wheelbarrow, and that you don't end up inadvertently dumping the bricks, sand, dirt, or brush clippings you're trying to move from one place to another.
Any loose or damaged pieces should be tightened or replaced as needed.
Make sure your wheelbarrow is in safe and proper working condition by inspecting it periodically. Start with the simplest step, which is checking to ensure the tire or tires are properly inflated. A tire with deficient air will not properly support the weight of a loaded wheelbarrow and will increase its instability and decrease your ability to steer and control the unit.
Next, inspect the handles of the wheelbarrow. Look for splinters that could hurt your skin and for cracks that indicate the handle may snap under heavy load. Also ensure that the wheelbarrow's handles are still securely attached to the tray and/or chassis.
Then, move onto the nuts and bolts, as it were, marking sure each component of the wheelbarrow is properly secured, from the wheels to the frame to the tray. Any loose or damaged pieces should be tightened or replaced as needed.
Finally, never load more weight into a wheelbarrow than you can safely manage. Protect your back and shoulders from injury and avoid the frustration of a spilled tray load of material by keeping the load light. Two trips with moderate loads are better than one heavy load spilled out all over the ground.
Other Uses For Your Wheelbarrow
Wheelbarrows are primarily used to carry grass clipping, fallen leaves, and dirt around a property. But that doesn't mean they can't serve a variety of other purposes, as well. With a bit of imagination you can get much more use out of these rugged devices.
Fill the wheelbarrow with cans or bottles of your favorite beer, soda, or other beverages, and then top it off with ice.
If you don't mind your wheelbarrow getting a bit dirty (and really every well loved wheelbarrow is and should be dirtied regularly), it can serve as a perfect place for mixing small batches of concrete. Prepare the right blend of concrete powder and water in the wheelbarrow and then use it to pour the mixture into the prepared area. (You can also shovel the concrete out as needed if pouring it from the wheelbarrow is not practical given the circumstances.)
On the other hand, a clean wheelbarrow can make a clever and handy way to serve iced beverages at a party. Fill the wheelbarrow with cans or bottles of your favorite beer, soda, or other beverages, and then top it off with ice. A wheelbarrow can be easily rolled into place at a picnic or BBQ, allowing easy access to cold drinks and also bringing a bit of eccentric charm to the party.
And finally, a wheelbarrow can make a good planter. If you have a wheelbarrow you seldom use or if you want to get a unique planter for your property, fill your wheelbarrow with soil and then sew seeds or transfer a potted plant or shrub into it. The setup allows you to easy maneuver a plant for ideal sun and rain exposure and lets you relocate a larger, heavier plant prior to transplanting.